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End Prohabition, Gangs Disappear

By Hempology | May 28, 2007

Abbotsford Times

Apr 27/07

The prohibition of street drugs creates a venue that supports gangs and makes criminals rich. That’s the message offered by Tony Smith, a 23-year veteran of Vancouver City Police. He and retired provincial judge Jerry Paradis spoke at Tuesday night’s drug debate at Abbotsford’s city hall, calling for the end to the prohibition of street drugs such as heroin and marijuana.

They say drugs should be regulated by the government and taxed like alcohol.

Both are members of LEAP, or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a 5,000-member organization of current and former judges, police officers, lawyers and others in North America who support drug regulation rather than prohibition. Their argument is that drugs are too dangerous to be in the hands of criminals.More…

“Our idea is not pro-drug, but we’ve created a market for the criminals. Basically, you end prohibition and gangs disappear,” said Smith, citing the fall of gangs when alcohol prohibition ended in the United States.

Abbotsford police Chief Ian Mackenzie spoke for the other side of the argument, which is maintain the status quo of using police enforcement as the primary method of control.

The debate continues June 12 at city hall, with Paradis and Smith on the panel again discussing options to prohibition.

They will face criminologist Darryl Plecas of University College of the Fraser Valley. Plecas is the RCMP research chair in crime reduction and an appointed director with UCFV’s Centre for Criminal Justice Research.

Event organizers Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy and marijuana activist Tim Felger urge the public to attend.

The debate starts at 7 p.m. on June 12, at City Hall, at 32315 South Fraser Way.

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